December-January, 2009

This is Page 2. Find Page 1 here.

The program from the Celebration of Curly's Life is on page 3.


photograph by Lori Faith Merritt (

Curly Musgrave


Remembrances, photos, and notices (continued)  updated 1/18

Newest posted below, here.

On Page 1

"A Cowboy Farewell"
A Quiet Fund
The Stay-at-Home Benefit
Celebration of Curly's Life
Radio Programs


The program from the Celebration of Curly's Life and more from the event is on page 3.


Find our feature about Curly Musgrave with some of his poetry and lyrics here.

Remembrances and Photos

(continued from Page 1, where there are many additional remembrances and photos here):

Newest posted below, here.

  Don Endsley of the Great American Wild West Show ( January 17-18, 2010 in Denver, Colorado) has announced that the show will be dedicated to the memory of Curly Musgrave.

Curly and Belinda Gail were scheduled to return for a second year as musical headliners. Belinda will appear with Patty Clayton on standup bass and vocals and Johnny Neil on fiddle. Don shared the page from the inside of the playbill:

Journalist and photographer Jeri Dobrowski ( is sending photos to Diane Tribitt for the photo montage that is being created for the Celebration of Curly's Life (please send yours as mentioned above). Jeri shared a few of her photos with

© 2005, Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.
Curly at Western Legends Roundup, Kanab, Utah, 2005

© 2005, Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.
Buck Taylor, who starred as Newly on Gunsmoke, auditions as Curly's new singing partner;
Western Legends Roundup, Kanab, Utah, 2005

© 2006, Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Elko, Nevada, 2006

  Rick Huff, radio and television producer, reviewer, songwriter, and Western Music Association board member writes:

As I was thinking what to write concerning the sad passing of my friend and colleague in Western music, Curly Musgrave, I came across the CD that introduced him to us all. I looked at the cover of Born To Be A Cowboy, and it struck me that the image and title are appropriate to share now.

Here was one of the true friends of our genre...a man who typified what "being Cowboy" was all about. It wasn't the rodeo or the roundup in him. It was a set of ethics and a way of doing what he did that helped, brightened, strengthened and stabilized.

A professional musician for most of his adult life, Curly first came to one of our final Western Music Association festivals that was headquartered in Tucson...mainly to check out what the organization was about. He quickly rose in popularity to become a multiple award winning performer...both with the WMA and the Academy Of Western Artists.

I was fortunate to have been present in Branson at the first informal teaming onstage of Curly with his wonderful future performing partner Belinda Gail. Everyone in the audience knew something very special had just happened. Curly went on to serve on the WMA Board Of Directors, where I got to know him best, and he worked tirelessly to promote and expand Western Music's scope and influence.

Happily, his voice lives on in the wonderful music he created, but his honest spirit and countenance, glowing with positivity, will be missed in so very many ways...

  Poet and writer Linda Kirkpatrick performed with Curly Musgrave and others in 2003 in a series of shows called "Cowboy True."

Linda Kirkpatrick volunteered to oversee the "Quiet Fund" in Curly Musgrave's memory. Read about the fund above .

  Diane Tribitt, poet, writer, and editor of writes:

We have a new page dedicated to a wonderful friend who was so dearly loved, Curly Musgrave (1943-2009), including 2 video clips (under the PEOPLE tab).

Larry Wines—host/programmer/producer, music journalist, artist & festival consultant,
and editor of Tied to the Tracks, Acoustic Americana Music Guide:
—has an extensive article about Curly Musgrave in Folkworks at

  Sam Jackson, poet and producer of the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo writes:

Although occasionally described as a wordsmith, I find myself unable to put into words the extent of loss the Western entertainment genre, and the world in general, has suffered at the passing of such a stalwart as Curly Jim Musgrave: a friend, a mentor, a respected associate. Our deepest sympathy to his family, Sam and Rene’e Jackson

Author and speaker Charley Green ( writes:

Charley Green’s Special Moments of 2007

Dream Ride in the Flint Hills
At the Flying W Ranch
September 28-29, 2007
Clements, Kansas

Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave are two of the finest Western Music entertainers and they certainly didn’t disappoint riders and guest with their outstanding performances during this trail ride event. They entertained at the noon and evening programs as well as providing the inspirational music at “Cowboy Church” on Sunday morning. Belinda has earned awards presented by the Western Music Association as Female Performer of the Year, plus Female Vocalist of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists. She is truly “America’s Western Sweetheart.” Performing together they earned the coveted Western Music Association’s award, Duo of the Year in 2006.

Curly is recognized as “One of the most innovative and influential singer/songwriters in Western Music today” along with his talent, personality and credibility of being a real life cowboy. It was a great time and pleasure to visit with these charismatic and gifted individuals who contributed so much by bringing a "Western Flavor" and sense of history to this event in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Personal note (12/28/09):

Curly will most certainly be remembered in our hearts as well as for his deeds. The world knew he was here as he left his brand on Western Music and the "Cowboy Way." He was a role model for all of us to follow when we step up and present our God-given talents for others to hear as we strive to keep our Western Heritage and Spirit alive for future generations.

He enriched the lives of so many of us and by so doing, I know he enriched his own and that’s a pretty good way to have lived. I feel blessed to have shared a moment or two with him.

  Diane Tribitt, poet, writer, and editor of shares a poem:

Chosen Angels
...measurements of love

Don’t’ try to measure heartaches. Never stop to count your tears.
For every life is measured  by love and not by years.

God knows the anguish death brings; His own son was crucified,
Yet He offered us salvation the day that Jesus died.

The  gift of life’s God-given, with a path that we can’t see.
Each day we’re one  day closer to our own destiny.

With sad hearts we seek answers when one dies before their prime
But every Angel’s chosen, and God picks the best  each time.

Don’t dwell on grief or anger. Make your time count here on earth.
Fill every day with laughter; and love for all you’re worth.

So when you’re called to Heaven, friends can wipe away their tears
And know your life was measured by love and not by years.

© 2009, Diane Tribitt  
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

From Western musician Nancy Lee:

Curly was a man of such gentle strength and made a mark on my heart the first time that I met him at one of the first events I performed at. He was so kindhearted and tried to get folks to quiet down at a jam session so I could be heard. He encouraged me to continue doing what I was doing – that was sing and play the guitar. I never forgot that act of kindness and the time he took to make me feel special.

When he and Belinda joined forces I was again privileged to perform at several festivals with this talented duo and strengthen my friendship with not only Curly and Belinda but Curly’s lovely wife Kathi. It makes me smile to think of Curly’s subtle sense of humor that he shared with me at some of these events when he would tell me, seriously, that he and Belinda were doing all of the songs that I had also planned on performing. I would be in a panic mode when Belinda would let me off the hook, and let me know he was just kidding, it was one way to keep me on my toes and send my stage fright out the door….I figured Curly’s humor out and started dishing it back, but he was just such a quiet strength that I felt more in awe of him as a human being and artist and simply took in every song and beautiful display of his talent on the guitar. I respected him as such an awesome musician and looked to him as an inspiration to improve my abilities.

I got to perform in Big Bear this last summer with Curly and Belinda and we were able to share a beautiful Cowboy Church service singing beneath the clear blue sky and those big tall pines that reach up to heaven. I’m so glad that I was a part of that event but sad that it was the last opportunity to share a song with this great cowboy. I know he has touched the face of God and knowing the kind of man he was, that he was grateful to be with his family he loved so dearly when he found his peace. Truly he will be missed by not only his loved ones but by all of his friends who shared so many good times and sweet memories…I hope all of us will be able to keep those special memories and smiles in our hearts and thoughts forever…May God Bless Kathi and her family and may we keep them in our thoughts and prayers…God’s Grace to You...

WMA Radio DJ of the Year Barb "Western Belle" Richhart of Cowtrails shares a photo she says is "a favorite photo of mine of Curly taken last year [2008] at the WMA after a jam session":

A January 4, 2010 news article, "Cowboy Tribute to Curly Musgrave Scheduled," by Michael P. Neufeld at the describes Curly Musgrave's career and includes photos. He writes, "The voice of Lake Arrowhead resident Jim "Curly" Musgrave may have been silenced with his passing on Sunday, December 13. But his music will live forever."

Read the article here.

Andy Nelson shared the the program from the Celebration of Curly's Life, which is posted on page 3.

Photographer Jack Hummel shared an image from the Celebration of Curly's Life (enhanced by Paulette Tcherkassky and shared by Dave Bourne, used by permission):

From left: Andy Nelson, Gary Robertson, Mike Fleming, Diane Tribitt, next four are the Tumbling Tumbleweeds, (behind flowers) Jack and Joe Hannah, Jean Sudbury (Tumbling Tumbleweeds), Joyce Woodson, Juni Fisher, Belinda Gail, Lon Hannah, R.W. Hampton, Patty Clayton, Patty Bourne, (behind Patty) Jon Messenger, Dave Bourne, Dave Stamey, and Rusty Richards

  Diane Tribitt, poet, writer, and editor of writes:

I am so very please to present the PhotoShow that was played at Curly Musgrave’s Celebration Of Life. It is a wonderful portrayal of his life, his family, and his Western heritage....

The videos are each backgrounded by the voice/music of Curly or Curly & Belinda. The family wishes to share these videos with Curly’s friends who were unable to attend the Celebration, so please help pass the word that the video clips are now available at the PEOPLE tab.

This is a free membership site, but to become a member you must first subscribe and create a personal password. After that is done, you simply log in to access all the stories, videos, photoshows....

The Winter, 2010 issue of The Western Way magazine, the official publication of the Western Music Association (WMA), includes a cover article about Curly Musgrave, a rich and sensitive piece by respected journalist Mark Bedor, who interviewed Curly just days before his death. The article also profiles Belinda Gail, Curly's singing partner, and the story of their partnership.  Read the story on the electronic version of The Western Way (starting on page 18) at the WMA web site.


Curly's nephew, Chris Reading (his father is Kathi Musgrave's brother) writes:

... I knew Jim and Kathy as a favored Aunt and Uncle as we spent lots of time together when I was young.

I remember when he had a Music store in Fullerton when I was young. He gave me my first kazoo! (drove my Dad nuts with it too). I remember all the BBQ’s we had as my dad and grandfather were meat cutters. I knew he loved music as much as he did his family, for he was always playing. I missed Jimmy and Johnny as I grew up. I always knew his sense of humor was great. I was happy to see he was loved by many and he touched people thru his music and comedy.

A lot of people don’t know he was a marriage and family counselor and child psychologist as well. He will always hold a special place in my heart as will Kathi and the boys. I will miss Uncle Jim...

  Photographer Lori Faith Merritt ( shares photographs from the Celebration of Curly's Life on page three here.

© Lori Faith Merritt/Photography By Faith®



(This is page 2. Find many additional remembrances and photos here on page 1)

The program from the Celebration of Curly's Life and more from the event is on page 3.


photograph by Lori Faith Merritt

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